What is YouTube SEO? 7 Most effective and optimal YouTube SEO steps 2023

As you also know SEO website is the job of making your website more friendly to Google’s search engine. So what is YouTube SEO and is it the same as SEO for a website?

Today, I will guide you through the steps to learn YouTube video SEO to achieve high rankings. This is also how I am developing my own Group Buy SEO Tools Do YouTube channel.

So what do you think is the best way to optimize my YouTube videos? There are many ways to help your videos rank top. Let me share with you from A – Z the YouTube SEO method that I have applied to my channel. Let’s see together!


What is YouTube SEO?

Youtube SEO is the technique of optimizing videos to the Top of Youtube’s search. If Website SEO is the process of improving website rankings on Google’s search results page, YouTube SEO is the process of optimizing videos to improve video rankings on YouTube’s search results page. YouTube SEO also makes your videos more search engine friendly for YouTube. Besides, YouTube’s SERP shows ads at the top, then organic results like Google’s SERP.


YouTube SEO techniques have always been a document that Marketers and SEOers make to optimize videos to reach customers most easily and bring the best value from the Internet.

Why should you SEO YouTube?

Did you know, YouTube is the 2nd search engine in the world. Currently only 9% of small businesses apply. In particular, a number you cannot ignore is that YouTube’s video search volume accounts for 55% of Google. The potential for business growth you need to take advantage of right away.

To be more specific, when doing YouTube SEO, the business benefits you get are:

+ Increase traffic
+ Attract new customers
+ Increase conversion rate
+ Brand advertising
+ Build customer trust

What are the important YouTube ranking factors?

YouTube is similar to Google – There are content evaluation criteria to rank videos in the TOP position. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the important factors to optimize the video. What factors are those?

First, take a look at the following overview diagram of how the YouTube algorithm evaluates a video


It can be seen that there are many factors for YouTube to evaluate a video and make a decision to rank the top video. However, the following factors are particularly important to keep in mind:

Audience Retention

User retention is the percentage of users who watch a video.
The higher the user retention rate, the higher the video quality.

Total watch time

Total watch time is the total time the user watched the video. This is considered an extremely important factor for YouTube to rank videos.

Total watch time is proportional to YouTube quality (total time is more important than user retention)

For example: 1 video has a total time of 15 seconds. If the average viewer is 11 seconds, retention is high, but total time is low. Contrast with 10 minute video. If the retention rate accounts for 50% => Total viewer time is 5 minutes > YouTube will favor 10-minute videos. Because YouTube can make a lot of money from high total time ads.

Keyword optimization

This process will help YouTube understand what the video content you want to convey to users is so that it can evaluate and rank the video.

Elements that need to be optimized for YouTube SEO standards such as Titles, Descriptions, Tags.

The power of the channel

Channel strength is measured by three factors:

Channel credibility: The authority of the channel can be measured through video title, video duration, description; other reputable sources mention the channel or the video on the channel.
Number of videos on channel and frequency of video posting: Channels with a certain number of videos represent the owner’s investment and intention to stay with Youtube for a long time. The frequency of uploading videos regularly shows that the channel is updating with new content and is active regularly and strongly.
The number of channel subscribers: The large number of followers shows the quality of the channel, the content is attractive and many people are waiting for the next products of the channel.
Video content and quality
First, the content of the video must bring usefulness to the viewer, the video content must satisfy the user search. There are many ways to create videos in different formats, refreshing content, or SEO many YouTube videos help attract more viewers and show new perspectives on the channel.

For example, with a technology product topic, the video script might look like this:

Product unboxing video.

Video review features, interface, appearance, … about the product.
Product comparison video and other similar products.
Besides quality content, image quality will help you rank high in search.

User interaction with video

User engagement is an important factor affecting video ratings, viewer engagement shows how interested they are, and the quality of the video. The more people watch the video, watch it for a long time, share it, like it more, etc., it proves that the video is useful to users.

Interactive factors: views, watch duration, shares, comments, likes/hats. In addition to the above factors, subscription channel and geography also affect video ranking.

Geography: Geography determines user language, Youtube prioritizes search results and language.
Subscribed Channels: Videos of channels users subscribe to when searching will now rank higher.
If you want to have a high ranking on Youtube, focus on the above factors to create channel power. Focus on content, video quality, and user engagement with the video.

Now that you know the 6 factors that affect YouTube rankings, it’s time to get into SEO!

YouTube SEO Strategies

YouTube is the fertile ground that many people have joined in recent years. The real potential of this platform is being fully exploited and blossomed, so it is widely known. To optimize YouTube videos you need to do strong YouTube SEO just like Google SEO.

YouTube video optimization strategies are strongly interested by SEOers and apply the following effective strategies:

SEO YouTube videos

This is a strategy for those who are just starting to learn and learn about how to Onpage YouTube, because this is the simplest way. Like Google SEO, SEOs conduct video-by-video SEO. Each video will attach a corresponding keyword group so that when users search for the corresponding keyword, the video appears.

SEO recommends YouTube

The videos users are watching will show suggested videos on the top right hand screen, which is what YouTube recommends for viewers. Suggested videos are related to what users are looking for, or interested in, or previously searched and watched videos.

Using suggestive SEO, your videos can be recommended to users who are really interested in your content and get high clicks. This helps increase visits and more people know your channel.

The suggested SEO strategy uses keyword groups and video tags to organize the placement of videos. This method makes the video more likely to reach the top when searching on YouTube or Google.

This method is easy to use, easy to optimize videos on your channel. Therefore, this is not really the best optimization method, should not be too dependent on this strategy.

SEO Playlist YouTube

On YouTube, there are many playlists of the same learning channel that gather videos of any number of channels. A video can belong to one or many different playlists, a collection of videos in a playlist can have the same or different content.

When adding multiple videos to a playlist, the playlist that appears first in search will give you the opportunity to get more exposure to other videos in the list. Users will be interested first in the video being searched for, then the videos in the playlist.

This strategy is highly effective, but to do it is not easy. To be successful, you need investment and a detailed implementation plan. Often content such as multi-episode movies, music playlists implement the YouTube Playlist SEO strategy successfully.

YouTube channel SEO

The way YouTube SEO to the top is difficult to successfully implement, this strategy should only be applied to channel owners who have a solid knowledge of YouTube SEO. Only those who have the investment, knowledge, time and all aspects can execute a successful strategy.

Channel name SEO and keyword SEO are common ways that people use. When searching for keywords, videos belonging to the channel will show up at the top of the results.

The more subscribers your channel has, the higher the success rate when doing this method will be the interaction with diverse topics.

Overall YouTube SEO

Overall SEO is about implementing a mixture of the strategies mentioned above. To do this, the channel owner must have basic to in-depth knowledge, investment, and a clear implementation plan.

Successful implementation takes time, it may take a long time, but the results will surely satisfy you. An overall SEO strategy can help you stay on top for a long time and safely.

7 Most effective and optimal YouTube SEO steps 2023

I will show you the most effective YouTube SEO that I have applied to my channel and how it works!

Step 1: Research keywords for YouTube SEO

The YouTube channel SEO process starts with researching YouTube keywords for videos. Here’s how to find the exact keywords for a YouTube video:

Write down a list of keyword ideas

The first step is to create a list of potential keywords. Then I’ll help you find the best keywords from this list.

One of my favorite methods is to use YouTube’s Search Suggest feature. All you need to do is go to YouTube and type any word or phrase. And YouTube will also show a series of keywords related to the word you just typed.


Simple isn’t it?

The suggested words are all great. Because these are the keywords that users (customers) often access YouTube. So it is completely unnecessary for you to care if these words are popular or not. Certainly yes.

Once YouTube has suggested it is 100% reliable. You can also watch hot videos in the same field and copy the keywords that this video is optimizing for.

Keyword optimization is the core of the YouTube SEO trick. If a video gets a lot of views, chances are it’s optimizing for a popular keyword.

Search for keywords that are being optimized for the video

To do this, go to another channel related to your niche. Then sort the videos in this channel by the “Most Popular” option. Videos are displayed in order of view from highest to lowest.


Next, select a video from the list. Of course you should choose a video that you think can be based on it to create another great video. (I’ll be more specific in step 2)

But in general, just a video in your field is fine. Finally, find out which keywords are optimized in this video. Very simple. Just check the keyword in the title, description and video tag.

You can also add some great keywords from the YouTube Report. “Traffic Source: YouTube search” – This report shows all the keywords that YouTube users use to find your videos.

In a lot of cases, these could be keywords you already know. Because maybe these keywords you have already optimized in your video. But sometimes you will find keywords that you never expected.

Step 2: Find the most effective YouTube SEO keywords from the list

After you have a list of keywords, it is time to choose the best keywords. Especially you want to optimize keywords with low competition. This is extremely important, especially when your channel does not have many subscribers. These will be the initial keywords that help you make money on YouTube later when you build a YouTube channel to make money.

If you try to take risks and optimize for highly competitive keywords, your video will end up buried in the YouTube search results. Look for keywords that don’t have much competition. So how to find them now? Scroll down to learn more!

Find low competition keywords

Find how? Just type in your keywords and check the “About Results” section.

This metric represents the total number of videos available on YouTube on the subject. The higher the number, the more competitive the keyword. So your goal is to have low “About Results” keywords.

But how low is it? This depends on the industry, I can’t give you exact numbers. In short, you should focus on keywords with low competition in the industry.

For example, when searching for “YouTube SEO”, up to 37.4 million results appear. This is a huge number. So if I’m just starting out making YouTube videos, I’ll try another keyword like “How to rank up videos on YouTube”, and this keyword only has 213,000 search results, which means it’s much less competitive.

Tips: Find keywords with Google

Most views on YouTube come directly from the YouTube channel itself. But your video will be able to get 2-5 times more views if you can compete on Google. From there, increase your ability to make money on YouTube.

How? Optimize your YouTube SEO standards with keywords that appear in Google video search results.

If you research, you will see that Google only shows videos on search results with certain keywords. Unlike the front page which usually outputs 10 site results. For certain keywords, Google only dedicates part of the front page to video.


Typically, Google will rank videos for keywords like this:

Keyword in the form of “How to” (how/how…): Example of how to bake moon cakes
Review (review of Pond’s facial cleanser)
Tutorial (how to install WordPress)
Video content related to fitness and sports (Cardio kickboxing – a form of strength training that combines martial arts elements)
Comedy videos (cute animals)

Why should you pay attention to these?

If you optimize a video and the keyword does not appear in any video search results on Google, you will only get traffic from YouTube. But if you optimize for video keywords, you will get direct traffic from the front page of Google to your video.

How to find detailed keywords

You just need to type on Google one of the keywords you just found earlier. Then see if that keyword appears in any YouTube video results. Too simple.

After finding the video keyword, look at the search volume for that keyword. If you go to Google for a keyword with only 20 searches/month, it’s not worth it.

So make sure the main keyword has at least 100-1000 searches/month on Google. Alternatively, you can use Google Keyword Planner to find your main keywords.

Why 500 searches per month?

If you can rank this video on Google, more searchers will click on your video on the results page. That means you get a lot of high-quality traffic to the video and then to the other videos on your site.

Here is a practical example:

My Group Buy SEO Tools channel is a channel specializing in sharing about SEO, selling seo tools, so I will search for video keywords like “Group Buy SEO Tools”, “SEO Group Buy”, “Buy SEO Tools”, … And the keyword “keyword research” has 3 YouTube results on Google.

And of course this keyword exceeds 500 monthly searches.

This will be a potential keyword to create related videos. The truth is that I did.

Step 3: Increase high-retention to optimize YouTube channel and increase monetization

The truth is that if you want to rank videos, it’s not just about getting users to visit your YouTube channel. You need to keep viewers on the video. The longer the user’s YouTube video viewing time, the better.

The watch time of the user (customer) when watching your video is called Audience Retention. And YouTube once stated:

“Audience Retention is a huge factor in ranking.”

Specifically, YouTube also says the following:

“Your goal is to have Audience Retention numbers as close to 100% as possible. Because this means users stay to watch your video. And videos with consistently high Audience Retention and Watch Time have a better chance of appearing more often in YouTube search and recommendations.”

In other words, the longer your videos keep customers on YouTube, the more YouTube tends to rank your videos higher in search results.

YouTube as well as search engines want people to stay on the page to click on ads. And if you help YouTube do this, they’ll help you promote the video.

The question here is:

How create videos that keep users engaged? In other words, how to create high-retention video?

What is Sub?

Sub stands for the word subscriber which means someone who subscribes to a product, service or organization.

If your video is sloppy, even if you optimize the YouTube SEO standard, it will not reach the top. Unlike Google, which uses backlinks and other indicators to judge the quality of content. And Youtube is based on Audience Retention. It can be said that Audience Retention is one of the main factors affecting YouTube’s algorithmic ranking.

Step 4: Optimize 7 other important factors affecting YouTube ranking

1. Comment below the video


If someone leaves a comment, this is a strong signal to YouTube: Viewers are really interested (or at least they are engaged), learning about your video.

In fact, when I was analyzing 1.3 million YouTube search results recently, I noticed that the comments section positively affects a video’s rankings. That is the effective YouTube SEO effect from my optimization, including regularly replying to viewer comments.

So, try to encourage your viewers to comment on the video, and respond to those comments often.

2. Subscribe after watching the video

If someone after watching the video immediately subscribes to your YouTube channel, this is a good sign. It shows you have a great video. The best way to get more subscribers on YouTube is to get users to subscribe.

Experience from observation is that if you ask users (customers) to subscribe at the end of the video, the monthly subscriptions will increase significantly. How many subscribers does your YouTube channel currently have?

3. Share Videos

How many people share your videos on social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook?

Think about it: People tend to never share poor quality videos?

So when YouTube sees someone sharing your video, YouTube will assume the quality of your video content is great and they will probably put your video on the top. Thereby increasing the rank of your video.



Therefore, link your YouTube video with other social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, …) to help the video increase the viral rate and increase the number of shares.

4. Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

When someone searches for your keyword on YouTube, which result will they click on? Is your video or someone else’s? YouTube pays close attention to user/customer behavior.

The degree to which users click on your results is called “click-through-rate” (CTR). Of course, the higher this number, the better. In other words, you want YouTube users to click on your video.

If YouTube analytics knows that many people click on your video, they will want to rank your video. Simply because your video is useful and matches the viewer’s intent, so many people click on it.

Even if people ignore your video, your rankings will drop. The best way to increase the CTR rate is to design a Thumbnail image and set an attractive video title.

You can see my title and Thumbnail featured in the illustration below:


5. Thumbs up/Thumbs down

This part is too obvious. Thumps up and thumps down represent the reaction of the user (customer) when watching the video.

And of course, thumps up shows that users are really enjoying the video, clicking like your video. And thumps down, on the contrary, they are not satisfied with the quality and information that the video brings.

Therefore, user reactions will definitely affect the ranking of videos that appear on YouTube.


Video likes are also very important, as it shows usefulness to viewers. High likes prove that the video satisfies the user’s search needs and matches the search results.

On the contrary, when the dislike is high, it means that the video content is not suitable and of low quality. YouTube will use these criteria to rank your videos.

7. Video length

Just like Google articles are text-based, the longer a YouTube video is, the better it will rank. And the actual data proves it.

Research on factors affecting YouTube rankings found that…

Long videos have advantages over short videos (for YouTube SEO at least)

For example, if you search for the keyword “WordPress” on Youtube, the top 2 videos are all 1 hour long.

So how long should the video be?

I wouldn’t be overly imposing on this number. Instead, focus on making the best video you can.

If your video is more than 20 minutes long, don’t worry. If it’s good, the user/customer will automatically see it.

The cool thing here is that you can track all of these metrics in YouTube Studio. This way, you can know what you’re doing and what should be done to improve the video quality.

After you have created a high-retention video. Now it’s time to upload to YouTube and optimize YouTube videos for SEO.

Step 5: How to SEO YouTube effectively to get to the top of YouTube

State your main keyword clearly. As you probably know, YouTube is now able to automatically transcribe videos quite accurately. Therefore, when Youtube realizes you mentioned the main keyword in the video. They will understand more about the topic of that video.

Where do you think the main keyword should be inserted? 3 places you should insert keywords to rank your videos better:

1. Video title

The video title (title) needs to contain the main keyword for SEO and should be at least 5 words in length. You can write titles that contain all the keywords without having to stuff them with keywords.

For example the title length of this video is 19 words.

Hot Tip: Like blog posts, you can get better YouTube SEO if you put keywords in the title in the first place. If you are competing for the keyword “Keyword Research” then the title should be the same as mine above.

2. Video description

The video description is very important. Video description helps Youtube and Google understand the context of the video better. From there your ranking will be higher. And you’ll appear in the Suggested Video bar more often.


Here are some basic guidelines when inserting the main keyword in the description:

. Use keywords in the first 25 words
. Description at least 250 words
. Repeat keywords 2-4 times
The standard SEO description will tell Google and YouTube what your video is about. Note do not contain keywords that need SEO too many times. Don’t let it look like spam.

3. Tags

Tag is not the most important element but it is very useful. I use 3 tags for videos as follows:

+ The first tag is my youtube channel name ( #groupbuyseotools)
+ And the second tag is my business name ( #groupbuyseotools)
+ The 3rd tag is the exact name of the main keyword (Example: YouTube SEO)

You can also use tags in another way:

  • The first tag is the main keyword of the video (Ex: YouTube SEO)
  • The second tag is related keywords – variations of the main keyword (Example: Optimize Youtube standard SEO)
  • Finally, add tags about the topic in the videos that are available. (Example: “Link building”, “Content marketing”)
  • In short, just add a few keywords to help YouTube and Google identify your video topic.

Important Notes:

Tagging with your main keyword doesn’t just help you to rank for your main keyword. It also helps you appear in the relevant video section of YouTube more often.
Don’t be afraid to use the same tag as your competitors. When a video someone is watching has a tag similar to yours, you’ll be added to the Sidebar.
That’s all you need to know to SEO your YouTube videos. Now is the last step and also the step that many people often skip – Video promotion.

Step 6: Promote effective YouTube video

I talk a lot about how to create videos with high Audience Retention and provide the best user experience. Actually every factor is important.

But in order for YouTube to measure these criteria, you need to get the views for the video first. Here are some tactics for getting views for your videos:

Mention your videos on Quora and other Q&A sites

Quora, forums, and question-and-answer sites are popular sites on the web. However be careful. If you come here just to post spam content, your account will be banned immediately.

That’s why you want to connect to YouTube videos. So you not only increase the number of views, but the views from the Q&A page are also very high quality. In other words high-retention view.

Think like this:

You post videos where people need information on a certain topic. So viewers of one of your videos will watch more videos to know more about the above topic.

To be able to do so you just need to find keywords that describe the video topic. Then find a question related to that keyword that you can answer. When you find the right question, answer it as accurately as possible. Finally, leave the link below the answer.

Link to your video in email signature

The people who write you emails must be very interested and eager to receive interaction from you. Every week, I also receive a lot of emails from my subscribers and people who always follow my blog posts and videos.

They have some questions or simply a review or suggestion. And if you also receive such email. This is also a way you support them to update useful, latest videos from you. Therefore, add the latest video link to the email signature to attract more people to click. Not to mention these video views are high-retention views.

Embed video in Blog Post

Whenever you write a blog post (in your personal page, or Guest Post on another site). Think about where you might embed a YouTube video in your post. This instantly gets you more high-quality views.

How to SEO YouTube Playlist

Are your videos divided into different playlists? YouTube certainly doesn’t automatically help you categorize or group related videos together. That is your duty.

YouTube Playlist is one of the best ways to increase views for videos. Playlist automatically plays all videos on the playlist, thereby increasing thousands of views per month.

Details are as follows:

S1: Watch the videos you have.
Step 2: Find 4-5 videos with the same topic.
S3: Create playlist.
S4: Add playlist to your youtube channel.
For example, when reviewing the posted videos, I see some videos related to “link building”. I group these videos into a helpful playlist about link building, add the playlist to my YouTube channel and repeat until your channel has at least 3 playlists.

Optimize your channel page

A well-optimized YouTube channel will help rank videos better because:

Your channel will rank itself on YouTube.
Well optimized channel page = more subscribers and views. Thereby indirectly improving your rankings.
But above all you want your channel page to be complete and professional. Remember to add keywords in the “About” section – the channel description.

Assuming the YouTube channel does not have a channel description, what are you waiting for – Write content for this “About” section.

You are not good at writing but still want to write good content, see the article: Summary of 26 ways to write attractive content for newbies!

For example, my YouTube channel specializes in sharing about SEO. Of course in the channel description, I also have to be related to the SEO topic.

Obviously you’ll want to be informative and not keyword-stuffed. Distribute the keywords you want to rank for as naturally as possible.

Step 7: Build backlinks pointing to video/channel

Finally, you need to build quality backlinks for videos, the work to be done will be:

Create quality articles, then insert video links into the content. Next is to spread the article content on forums, social networking sites Linkedin, SlideShare.
Create a blog to embed a YouTube video link that needs SEO, you can embed it on the homepage or video-related articles.
Build backlinks from newspaper websites to own a quality backlink source.
If you do not have a source of quality backlinks, you can buy Backlinks. But pay attention, careful selection of backlink sources.

YouTube SEO Software

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO platform that allows you to track your website’s rankings. A popular feature of Ahrefs is keyword research, which helps to look up a lot of information related to the keywords you are interested in.

And as shown in the image above, you can filter your keyword results as a YouTube keyword research tool. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer will provide all monthly search statistics of keywords, number of clicks, related keywords, etc.



Canva as a template for creating all kinds of cards, photos, and more. However, this product has a Thumbnail Creator for YouTube videos only.

Using Canva’s Thumbnail Creator, you can create the perfect preview for your video at 1280 x 720 pixels – the thumbnail size that YouTube requires.

Executing a content strategy with HubSpot

Executing a content strategy with HubSpot


HubSpot is a tool that allows you to find popular keywords for content creation and then organize these keywords into groups – called “topic clusters”. By organizing content into topic clusters, you can monitor which pieces of content are related to each other, what types of content are planned, and what has been created.

Clustering content and linking from videos to blog posts and vice versa – can give you more authority in the eyes of Google and YouTube. At the same time, HubSpot also offers many ways to attract traffic from users searching for your topic.

vidIQ Vision

VidlQ vision SEO YouTube
VidlQ vision SEO YouTube













This is a Chrome extension that helps you analyze how and why certain YouTube videos perform so well. This includes the tags the video has been optimized for, the video’s average watch time, and even its traffic growth rate.

The vidIQ tool then provides an SEO “score” that you can use to create content that performs (or better) the results you’ve seen on YouTube.



TubeBuddy is the platform for all videos, helping you manage the production, optimization, and promotion of YouTube content. Its features include automatic language translator (helps you rank for non-English keywords), keyword explorer (keyword discovery), tag suggestions (tag suggestions), rank tracking for your published videos…


Cyfe is a large software suite that provides a web analytics platform. On this platform, you can track page content performance across every website property – including YouTube – and where each page’s traffic is coming from.

In addition to traffic analysis, Cyfe can show which of your keywords are ranking for and which keywords are most popular on various search engines. Sounds a lot like Google Analytics or Moz, doesn’t it? That is, because Cyfe has data from both those tools and more.

One thing I want you to note! No matter what SEO tip or tool you start with: A successful YouTube channel starts with good content. Make sure your viewers have something relevant and high-quality to watch when they find you.


Now that you know what YouTube SEO is, apply it to see results. Hope today’s article is really useful to you, especially to help you know how to SEO YouTube videos to increase ranking for videos.

For those of you who make YouTube videos to make money on YouTube, YouTube SEO will definitely be a must-do and significantly increase efficiency for you guys.

Comment below the article to share your questions! I will reply to you soon.

Good luck!